- Officials of the South African Airways (SAA) responded to the seemingly unexpected behaviour of their cabin crew following its members’ refusal to continue with an international flight.
SAA said it will suspend the 14 member crew this week when they resume to work. Until investigation into the abnormal behaviour is complete, the crew will be out of work, Robyn Chalmers, SAA’s Group Corporate Affairs Manager said.
The airline is investigating whether there have been breaches of onboard discipline and procedures. Chalmers said firm action, which will begin with the suspension of the crew, will be taken.
The airlines’ flight carrying 244 passengers on board was flying out from Washington’s Dulles Airport on Sunday morning when it was apparently halted by the bad weather.
But to the passengers’ surprise, the crew approached the captain to express their unpreparedness to continue with their flight. The crew said they would have preferred to extend their flight and duty time limits on the 15-hour flight to Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Acting on the operations rules of SAA, the captain exercised his right to extend the duty time of the crew.
But the crew later refused to continue with their work, despite extensive consultations, leaving the captain with no option other than cancelling the flight to Johannesburg. The captain said this was done in the interest of passenger safety and comfort.
This forced the airlines’ jet to land in Washington, although it had to shoulder the burden of extra handling fees and overnight accommodation for its passengers.
Robyn Chalmers confirmed that not all passengers were accommodated at hotels.
"Due to the lack of beds in Washington, many of our passengers had to spend the night at the airport, for which we apologise."
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